Danny Valencia became the first Twins rookie ever to have four hits in back-to-back games, equaling Monday's feat in an 11-2 win Tuesday night. The night before in an even worse 19-1 drubbing, he'd become the first Twins rookie to smack a grand slam for his first major league homer.
Altogether, the surging Twins also hit double-digits in runs for a third straight game for the first time since June 11-13, 1967.
But on the other side of the baseball diamond, the Royals are in a horrible slump. Before the two lopsided losses to Minnesota, the Royals were beaten 12-6 on Sunday by the New York Yankees. Never in their history had they allowed this many runs (42) and hits (53) in three consecutive games.
"We need to do something," said Bruce Chen, who gave up 11 of the Twins' 19 hits and six of their 11 runs. "We need to do something soon."
Valencia had three RBIs and Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer and J.J. Hardy all had two as the Twins totaled 19 hits one night after getting 20. The Twins have won six of seven, and over their past four games against Baltimore and Kansas City have rung up 47 runs on a whopping 72 hits.
Perhaps no one appreciates the way Minnesota hitters are tearing it up more than Minnesota pitchers.
"It's amazing," said Carl Pavano (13-6), who went five innings and gave up five hits and one run while winning a career-best eighth consecutive decision. "Just watching the at-bats and watching the guys who are stepping up. You've got the usual guys who get their knocks every night. But then you've got these younger guys who are having big days."
Valencia, the rookie third baseman who was 4 for 4 with a grand slam Monday night, had two singles and a double in his first three trips to the plate against Chen (5-5) but took a called third strike from Robinson Tejeda in the seventh.
"That was a bad at-bat," Valencia said. "But he made some good pitches. You can't get a hit every time."
Until then, he had nine hits in 10 at-bats going back to Sunday in Baltimore. Then, facing Victor Marte in the eighth, he had an RBI single, making him 4 for 5 with three singles and a double.
"This is rare. It's definitely rare," he said. "It's great to have, but it's something that probably could never come again. It's been a great time for me and it's been a great time for the team. We've been winning, and you couldn't ask for anything more."
Mauer, who was 5 for 5 with seven RBI Monday night, doubled and scored in his first at-bat on Tuesday and was 2 for 4 with two doubles and two RBI.
According to Royals manager Ned Yost, there is nothing mysterious about the collapse of the pitching.
"The problem that we're running into is we're throwing too many pitches. We're not commanding the ball down in the zone," he said. "We're not making quality pitches. The pitch counts are rising way up and we're overexposing (the bullpen). Those guys are in there every day. It runs into problems."
"They are both great offensive lineups," said Yost. "You make a bit of a mistake and they're going to crush it somewhere and they've done that. Some of the pitches (the Twins) are driving to the gap or hitting the ball out of the ballpark, they're all mid-thigh and higher and a good part of the plate. That's just a recipe for disaster."
Pavano was not as sharp as he'd been while throwing a shutout against Baltimore in his previous start. But he gave up only one run on five hits in five innings, walking three and striking out two and winning for the fifth time on the road. Jose Guillen's sacrifice fly in the fifth was the first run Pavano had allowed in 18 straight innings.
Chen was charged with six runs on 11 hits as the Royals lost for the 12th time in 15 games and dropped into a last-place tie with Cleveland in the AL Central.
The Twins picked up right where they'd left off in Monday night's rout, taking a 2-0 lead on RBI singles by Cuddyer and Valencia in the first.
In the third, Young doubled and went to third on Cuddyer's single and Valencia and Hardy followed with RBI singles.
Mauer, Young, Cuddyer and Valencia all had RBI in the eighth. J.J. Hardy had a solo homer in the seventh.
- The old record for runs and hits allowed in three straight games was 40 and 50.
- Cuddyer's first-inning single stretched his hitting streak to 12 games.
- Pavano retired the side in the fourth on eight pitches.
- Scott Podsednik's RBI single in the sixth extended his hitting streak to 14 games, matching his career-high.